Kamala Harris tells childhood story, accused of plagiarizing Martin Luther King

Senator Kamala Harris’s anecdote about her infant commitment to 'fweedom' has been traced to a story by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Tue Jan 5, 2021 - 5:49 pm EST
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Kamala Harris. Juli Hansen /

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OAKLAND, California, January 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Senator Kamala Harris’s anecdote about her infant commitment to “fweedom” has been traced to a story by Martin Luther King, Jr.

In an October 2020 interview with Elle magazine, the 56-year-old Oakland native related a story she said was told to her by her mother about a civil rights rally she attended in her hometown as a very small child. At one point, the young Kamala fell out of her stroller.

“My mother tells the story about how I’m fussing,” Harris said, “and she’s like, ‘Baby, what do you want? What do you need?’ And I just looked at her and I said, ‘Fweedom.’”

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The story is a familiar one to those who have read the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 interview with Playboy magazine. Here, however, the child in the story is described as “seven or eight years old,” and the march was in Birmingham, Alabama:

“I never will forget a moment in Birmingham when a white policeman accosted a little Negro girl, seven or eight years old, who was walking in a demonstration with her mother. ‘What do you want?’ the policeman asked her gruffly, and the little girl looked him straight in the eye and answered, ‘Fee-dom,’” King related to interviewer Alex Haley.  

“She couldn’t even pronounce it, but she knew. It was beautiful! Many times when I have been in sorely trying situations, the memory of that little one has come into my mind, and has buoyed me.”

The similarity between the two stories was posted to Twitter by Andray Domise of Canada’s Maclean’s magazine.

“So it turns out Kamala Harris lifted her ‘Fweedom’ story from a 1965 Playboy interview with Martin Luther King, by Alex Haley,” Domise tweeted.

“Much thanks to @EngelsFreddie for spotting the similarity.”

Domise also supplied a link to the Playboy interview with King on the “Scraps from the Loft” blog.

Harris herself addressed the issue in June and July, as noted in a pair of tweets by Tom Elliott:

Plagiarism scandals are not unknown to Harris’s running mate, Senator Joe Biden, whose lofty 1987 hope to become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate went down in flames after he passed off part of a speech by Britain’s Neil Kinnock as his own. According to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper, a member of the Michael Dukakis campaign recognized the passages, informed his bosses, and ended Biden’s first attempt at becoming president.

According to Newsweek, in 1987, Biden also admitted to presenting someone else’s work as his own in a paper he wrote in 1965 for the Syracuse University College of Law. Biden stated that his omission of citations was “not malevolent.”

More recently, Biden was accused of plagiarizing part of a 2011 letter from a dying left-wing Canadian politician. The veteran New Democratic Party member, and former leader, Jack Layton, had written, “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.” In his final August 2020 speech to the Democratic National Convention, Biden stated, “For love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear, and light is more powerful than dark.”

  joe biden, kamala harris, martin luther king, plagiarism

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